Leeds-based solicitors Milners has been appointed to represent Ampleforth College at one of the UK’s biggest-ever public inquiries.
Senior partner Giles Ward (pictured), its head of litigation, is acting on behalf of the school at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London, which is chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE.
Its first public hearing into allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation in the Roman Catholic Church began on 27 November and is scheduled to last until 15 December.
The North Yorkshire school is a long-standing client of Milners, a 120-year-old independent firm, which also has offices in Harrogate and Pontefract.
Ward, who has instructed Matthias Kelly QC, of 39 Essex Chambers, to be a part of the legal team, said: “IICSA is the biggest-ever independent inquiry into child sexual abuse ever witnessed in the UK.”
“We have a developing specialism in supporting clients at complex and high-profile independent inquiries and are among just a handful of regional lawyers involved in this core part of the IICSA hearings.”
“It once again demonstrates the Yorkshire legal sector’s ability to work at the highest level nationally and under the intense public, press and political spotlight that IICSA generates.”
For three weeks, the IICSA panel will examine the relationship between Orders, such as the Benedictines and the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and consider how that relationship affects child protection.
It will also evaluate whether any failings identified within the English Benedictine Congregation, and within any other case studies identified as part of the investigation, are representative of wider failings within the Catholic Church.
There are currently 13 investigative strands to the inquiry, which also include children in the care of Lambeth Council, the Anglican Church and Westminster.
There are almost 200 individuals and organisations who have been given “core participant” status by the inquiry.
The public hearings are expected to last until 2019 and the final outcome of the inquiry, which is costing around £20 million per year, will not be published for several years.